An update for those of you playing at home: I have now partaken of some form of sustenance with an even 20% of the summer starters, and by the end of the day I think I will get my stats up to 25%. And I’ve been learning some stuff. Apparently, this is an exceptionally athletic group. Of the three people I had lunch with today, for example, one swam varsity in college; one did varsity crew; and one did varsity track—a readymade triathlon competition, waiting to happen. (You might wonder why I say “apparently”—I admitted them, right? Shouldn’t I have been aware of this? But sometimes, people fly under the radar. One of my lunchtime companions, for example, specified in her application only that she had coached her sport—which, while impressive, is not quite the same level of panache as being a varsity-level athlete at a Division I school.)
But in true Michigan spirit, all this high-powered athletic skill does not appear, in general, to have given rise to a crazed level of competition. Instead, I learned, there has been a lot of “cross-pollination” going on, with people offering to up the games, as it were, of the uninitiated: the swimmer teaches the runners how to breathe efficiently, and so forth. Harmony reigns.
Mostly. I did learn of one exception: One person whose commitment to physical fitness is so intense and uncompromising as to lead him to engage in in-class sports spectacles. Yes, that’s right: I’m told that in an alleged effort to elucidate the planking phenomenon, Professor Clark recently felt compelled to demonstrate his own planking form, toes on the back of one student’s chair, and forearms—well, I’m not sure where his forearms were. I’m endeavoring to conceive of this as purely philanthropic (because of course a classroom of 20-somethings need their professor to make them aware of the latest-breaking social media trends). But I can’t help but detect a soupçon of something less noble; could this be the maneuver of an aging jock, bent on eking out a psychological advantage from his future would-be basketball competitors? A Reggie Miller-esque taunt? Hard to be sure. Stay sharp, summer-starters. Don’t let down your guards. (And keep an eye on Professor Cooper . . . .)
-Dean Z. Assistant Dean for Admissions and Special Counsel for Professional Strategies